Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Movin' on

 No where to run
nowhere to hide
     - Martha and the Vandellas

Running on Empty
Running Blind
     - Jackson Brown


      Every now and then I have an "oh shit!" moment .  My latest was when I found out that there are wild fires in the rain forest of the Olympic peninsula.       (or here)  I  mean,  they get like 12 feet of rain there.!!    Give me a break.  Out here in the coast range, we only get 7 feet !   Up to now, I think in the back of my mind, I thought that Oregon was a "safe" place climate wise.  Maybe a little more the winter, sun in the summer  But not fires in the rain forest..  

     Our friends at FEMA recommend having a "bug out bag" in case of emergencies.  The idea being that you can actually get to some place safer.  But,  I'm wondering where that place is.

      Interestingly it seems that climate scientists may be asking themselves the same question.  A recent article in Esquire highlighted this noting that Jason Box, noted glaciologist, among others  have moved out of the US.  He moved to Denmark

“In Denmark,” Box says, “we have the resilience, so I’m not that worried about my daughter’s livelihood going forward. But that doesn’t stop me from strategizing about how to safeguard her future—I’ve been looking at property in Greenland. As a possible bug-out scenario.”

       Jason Box, knows a lot more about climate change than I do, so I find that  a little unsettling.  
       Other folks are already fleeing climate related distress.  150,000  fled Africa between 20911 and 2014.  Another half a million are waiting to leave.    Should we call them climate refugees?    It turns out that by and large climate refugees don't only leave because of storms, droughts, or other direct climate impacts.  People generally hunker down and hope for better times.   One reason they do move, is civil unrest or civil war,  A recent study in Nature points to Climate Change as a significant factor in the current civil war in Syria:

"The study is the first of its kind to look at a modern, ongoing war. Kelley says that his team focused on the Syrian conflict because it was preceded by a well-documented series of events: the drought caused agriculture to collapse in the country’s northeastern ‘breadbasket’ region, displacing roughly 1.5 million people to urban areas that were already stressed by rapid population growth and an influx of refugees from Iraq.
The situation spawned discontent over mismanagement of ground water and agricultural policies that favoured water-intensive crops such as cotton. Although natural-resource mismanagement may not have been the primary grievance driving the uprising, “there was clearly significant social unrest because of the drought,” says Femia."
          This is not really unexpected.  It was predicted by a 2007 Department of Defense Report.  The World Bank noted the same.   Jim Yong Kim, the president of the World Bank

"... said he believes battles over food and water would begin within the next five to ten years as climate change begins to affect food production. He urged campaigners and scientists to work together to create a solution.

       So, am I packing for Greenland?   No, but things do feel a little different.  I guess I'd better get to work pruning and thinning our woodlot.  I don't want our piece of the rain forest to go up in smoke, if I can help it. ! 

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